Saturdaydownsouth.com: According to former Texas Regent Tom Hicks, also known as owner of the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball and the Dallas Stars of the NHL, Saban was prepared to take the Texas job as the Longhorns were reportedly prepared to offer Alabama’s coach whatever salary demand he had to leave Tuscaloosa in order to replace Mack Brown.
Hicks was a recent guest of the Your Turn with Corby Davidson Podcast and shared his timeline of the events.
“We had a call from his agent… and he said, ‘If Saban was a business guy, he’s what you would call a turnaround artist. He’s not a longterm CEO. He likes to go someplace, fix it, win and go on. He knows he will never catch Bear Bryant’s legacy in Alabama, but he’d like to create his legacy that he won more national championships at more schools than anybody else. He’s already done it at LSU, he’s already done it at Alabama, and he knows he can win a national championship at Texas; he know he can.”
“I went to see Mack two days later, we had lunch and I thought at the time Mack was ready to leave. He’d been telling people he was ready to leave. So I said, ‘Mack, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with Jimmy Sexton. If you want to retire, I think you can graciously have Nick Saban come in and take your place and have it kinda be your idea. That might be a nice way for you to end it.’”
“Boy, Mack Brown turned bright red, steam started coming out of his ears he said, ‘That guy is not coming here to win a national championship with my players!’ I said, ‘Mack, it’s good to see you still have passion, I didn’t think you had that passion left. So that’s what started the Nick Saban story.”
Yes, Mack Brown killed the Saban deal. While he will forever be remembered for bringing a Natty back to Austin for the first time in 35 years, fans will never forgive or forget he also derailed the program for 7-8 years (2011-2018). The news today from former UT regent Tom Hicks that Nick Saban was ready to move to Austin and take over head coaching duties solidifies what many had guessed and deep down already knew—Mack Brown’s ego was the catalyst for the fall of the burnt orange empire.
Compare Texas’s situation to the departure of Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. While Stoops was still collecting Big 12 hardware in Norman, he realized that for the good of the team, it was time to step aside and leave the program in good hands with Lincoln Riley. That transition has proven to have been executed perfectly as Coach Riley looks to make his third straight CFP appearance.
Even as Texas continues to build on last season and trend upwards, it will be hard for fans to not think about what could’ve been had Nick Saban left Tuscaloosa for Austin—the wins, the recruits, the awards, the championships.
There’s only one way to silence those thoughts. Pressure’s on, Tom and Sam. Hook ‘em.